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Art Artist Mental Health Crises
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Art, Artists & Mental Health Crises

“Artists that project the shadows with the use of human-made light”: An excerpt from Plato’s The Republic delineates the role of artists who do not just depict society with a lens of their imagination but draft the blueprint for the future.

People watch/listen to the storytellers projecting the silhouette against the walls of the passing objects, naming shaming, criticizing, narrating giving voice to the shadows. The shadows are the observer’s reality but are not accurate representations of the real world for they are the projection of the experience/motivation of the artificial lights.   

You might be wondering why am I discussing artists out of the blues. Well, the blue bloom field is the fertile ground for the artist’s creativity & flourishes. And this explains why many artists themselves are “living the blues”, that is what they believed and so made the audience believe over the centuries. 

Who the artist is, is the very first question that may come to your mind. A person engaged in the activities of creating, practicing the arts, or demonstrating it, the common usage in everyday speech, lifestyle, and academics defines Leo Tolstoy. 

Much in cases blues are the seeds that flourish speedily thrusting growth of fearfulness and anxiety, as termed by Professor Martin Seligman: easily turns into an “epidemic of depression” that is absorbed quickly and easily by the mind. 

Amygdala is a part of the human brain and its core function is as a neural system for processing threats and fearful stimuli activating fearful behaviors. Perhaps this is the reason why people tend to incline toward negative biases. Your enemy is not outside but within you, it’s in your brain. 

Something that begins with excitement and soon becomes an epidemic of depression. Excessive fear and other emotions cause anxiety which when faced for a longer period causes mental health crises. Fear is much based on assumptions, presuppositions, and expectations and is constructed in the brain from non emotional ingredients.

When the group of researchers/scientists/think tanks/artists/ the very literate & aware group that’s capable of changing people’s perceptions and holds the position of power and potential to alter unconscious feelings out of motives and benefits. The health of not just these institutions and the people associated but the audience too seems far more vulnerable, as they say, one who takes a dip or pours water out only to get wet. 

With the evolution of social media and technology, the medium has evolved only to be faster and with higher penetration. Perhaps it wouldn’t be wrong to say as many are the people, so are the artists and the art representative producing beauty, entertainment, solace, satisfaction, uniqueness, or niche. 

Well, the point to ponder is if the world is so full of all colors, beauty, elegance, entertainment, and peace why is the world falling apart? The happiness index is falling, vigilance is increasing, and no less than ever before people are fighting in the name of love, Laughter & freedom to live.

What’s the cause? For hundreds of centuries then & now the artist is that segment of populations that have suffered depression and mental sickness also has seen the highest numbers of death due to mental health problems. 

Arts and the artist are not merely the ethnic people following ethnic or classical culture but the world of arts has evolved drastically. From Sculpture, Literature, Architecture, Cinema, Music, Theater, and Digital & all other forms of decorative to commercial and fine art, ethnic to modern arts and everything related to arts has evolved. Not just the categories but also the instruments & the medium has evolved to advance. 

It’s overwhelming to discover that now we have to give more emphasis on mental health awareness programs and their reach. The suicide rate is increasing and the quality of life is falling out of no labels and categories. And the artist who is a more sensitive human being open to creativity becomes open to vulnerability as well. 

I stumbled upon the wiki page as I was looking to prepare points for my speech on raising awareness among women in the rural vicinity of Hoshangabad. As I begin to dig deep the figures on the suicides and primacy suicide of artists set me brittle ‘n frozen to bone chill. Why hell on earth artist is that community on large that commits more suicide? 

You know as per World Health Organisation Globally, close to 800,000 people die by committing suicide. Do you know what it comes to? One person every 40 seconds… And just imagine, for every suicide, there are many more people who attempt suicide. 

  • What causes people to indulge in such thinking that takes away from them the zeal to live to hope for the coming moment when things could be better? 
  • To lose hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel? When People fail to believe in themselves and the impulse takeover that very absorbs all the light within. 

The exact cause of most mental disorders is not known but research suggests that factors like heredity, biological, psychological, induced trauma, or environmental issues can be the cause and the list is long for the symptoms

  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
  • Conduct Disorder (CD)
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Tourette Syndrome.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

The mentioned factors when are persistent for a longer period cause crises to become mental health sicknesses serious to the level of suicide in many cases. 

Though we know not for sure, going through much data and study can conclude how one can prevent mental health issues from further developing into crises to the level of suicidal thinking all in all for all classifications of people adults or adolescents including artists. 

To work around how to mitigate and raise awareness we need first to comprehend two perspectives in objectivity in synchronization to the subjective focus. This perspective gives a clear picture of the whole happening to work on how to create not a bubble that shatters with the external pressure of the VUCA world or say establish a sustainable ecosystem in our lives.

In brief, will say to decide upon the pivot point to be chosen in the right placement of priorities to be defined. What to be in the centre and what to be at the fulcrum? Art is not merely an expression of emotion and energy but also placing rightly and the right synthesis of the environment and the emotions impacting relation and the energy shared between the object the source and the artist. 

The pain of being lonely being surrounded by fans and admirers is mysterious to see and becomes the problem when the fans & energy & gratification become the centre. An artist who seeks energy from them gets so cluttered and lost in the things that well-being is an important part of health and springs from within. The reality of fame may bring peace or meaning to them but then steals all the joy though appears to be surrounded by life and activity. Being so skilled and talented, they fail in social skills and how to cope when there is an emotional upheaval. 

Life is an Art and everybody is an artist. 

The Key is being “Real Optimistic”.

Bending nays into good ‘n opportunities, 

A serious business that demands fun & floric,

You bend unfavorable propositions,

Light candles, and ignite hope in the darkness.

An art & reflect your precepts in all aspects. 

A therapy that crushes and crumbles you

to become the best version of yourself.

Manifesting your choice, affirmation of words,

How you love life, ‘n how to serve the purpose.

Creating yourself anew each day coping up infirmities? 

You bring Love Joy Peace as you chose to be Real Optimistic.

You become one, a masterpiece to be, to live by it. 

Be yourself, practice your ikigai, 

Creating patterns propagating Life. 

improving self, eliminating infirmities, 

Facing pinning down sufferings, trials ‘and tragedies. 

Triumphing truth witnessing revelations,

Delineating our being a precursor to Self-love.

Personifying selflessness on the pivot of purpose. 

Artist committing suicide is not new nor strange. History is full of such narratives, but the point to ponder is if an artist works liberating the world then why do few fail to liberate themselves? Painters, writers, and musicians when they run out of their paper, canvas, colors, or musical nodes to express their emotions. Where research in recent times demonstrates Creativity Improves Mental Health. 

Expressing yourself through artistic and creative activities is like a prescription for your mental health. Turning to creativity has been proven in extensive research to relieve both stress and anxiety. Creativity also helps lessen the shame, anger, and depression felt by those who have experienced trauma. It’s surprising to see when artists fail to heal themselves and fail to not rise trapped in mental health crises and sometimes commit suicide. 

It’s ain’t what you don’t know that causes a problem, it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so, said Mark Twain. Isn’t this stand perfectly true in the presence of social media and increasing mental health issues? Where hereditary issues and experience trauma are instead of environmental induced trauma due to dissatisfaction from life, perhaps reasons may be many, from craving for glory, fame or love, power or money.

Despite fame glory and living their passion few artists decide to end their lives. While for the artist life is about expression and takes us to the history of expression. The early human who made the cave painting expressed their learning and emotions and objectify life as about togetherness and moving forwards in the togetherness of the tribe. 

All art is the expression of our feeling, agony, and brokenness, not just pain but pleasure, good memories, happiness & joy too. But pain makes major artwork, at least the great work of the great artist. Why the question is why? Artists are always driven by chaos more than peace. History reflects many a time artists deliberately have ruined things to exaggerate the emotions that become the reflection of their past which is part of them and they keep playing hide and seek with it running away from it or chasing it which comes back only to haunt them. 

As says T S Eloit, “art is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. Truth is it’s not only by the passion that an artist chooses art but sometimes there is no other mean of expression to express emotions and art become the escape root instead of solace. 

They say overindulgence is unhealthy, perhaps the cause of the rising mental health crisis. So what can be the remedy, the world is full of information still mental health crises is on increase. 

Where truly the art is the medium of expression and seeking solace and not the content of competition. The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center has an art therapy program for soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Veterans often find it difficult to express their trauma verbally. 

What can bring peace to the world, 

What can fill it with love? 

May be:

One reigns in unity with light? 

One speck that shatters ill vibes?

One selfless deed that travels to infinity?

One impartial living banishing cheat?

Prioritizing people over products,

Purpose over profits? 

Creativity over consumption, 

Solitude over relentless pursuit?

Compassion over condemnation,

Gratitude over complaint?

Selflessness over judgment… 

The conception that one has to fall to lose it all so can collect the fragment weaving motif with sparkling dust that sing the glory of a morning star overcoming conquering the night. Truth is one has to figure out whether you are in love with the art in yourself or it’s yourself in the art. If it’s all about you it’s going to absorb you and not liberate, consuming your energies and not fueling light love faith. 

Have you ever been so immersed in writing in your journal, creating postcards out of your recent photographs, or dancing to your favorite band that you lost all sense of time? You’re focused with optimal attention on a task or activity you get eloped in the bubble that doesn’t suffocate but lifts your to rise all with joyous vibes, a euphoric state. 

People who experience flow only to let go and relive the new idea and opportunity far above themselves hold higher levels of creativity, productivity happiness positivity to life passion and longevity.

Everything has beauty, look closely and it’s not just about you. Drawing a clear line, seeing things much in black ‘n white, though thinking grey, and living by colors. That’s our purpose our calling, “Love all Harm None, not even to yourself. 

It’s Love & not power that has always saved the world directing towards progress & development. But the artist who from centuries before & now, moved forward being together, weaving dreams of Love of peace of hope holding creating the beautiful patterns a wonderful Beautiful World. 

Here is an anecdote from Leo Tolstoy’s letter on suicide, perhaps food for thought I am leaving you to ponder dear fellow artist. For first we are human beings over the face of the earth & art ain’t remains pieces but becomes a masterpiece when it proposes hope, meaning, life & light. 

In the Optin Monastery, for more than thirty years, there lay on the floor a monk smitten with paralyzes, who had the use of his left hand only. The doctors said that he was sure to suffer much, but not only did he refrain from complaining of his position, and looking at the icons, he smilingly expressed his gratitude to God and joy in that spark of life which flickered in him. 

Tens of thousands of visitors came to see him, and it is difficult to imagine all the good which flowed into the world through this man, though deprived of the possibility of any activity. Certainly, he did more good than thousands and thousands of healthy people who imagine that in various institutions they are serving the world.

We are accustomed to understanding art to be only what we hear and see in theatres, concerts, and exhibitions, together with buildings, statues, poems, and novels. But all this is but the smallest part of the art by which we communicate with each other in life. 

All human life is filled with works of art of every kind — from cradlesong, jest, mimicry, the ornamentation of houses, dresses, and utensils, up to. .services, buildings, monuments, and triumphal processions. It is all artistic activity. So that by art, in the limited sense of the word, we do not mean all human activity transmitting feelings, but only that part which we for some reason select from it and to which we attach special importance.”

While there is man’s life he can perfect himself and serve the Universe. But he can serve the Universe only by perfecting himself and perfect himself only by serving the Universe.― Leo Tolstoy.

May the art originates from our humanity to create a human reality of love laughter joy & peace.  

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Let your energy flow, so the Light, Love & life.

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